Right Angle Club 2009
The 2009 proceedings of the Right Angle Club of Philadelphia, beginning with the farewell address of the outgoing president, John W. Nixon, and sadly concluding with memorials to two departed members, Fred Etherington and Harry Bishop.
Everyone driving the Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia is familiar with the Cira Centre I (built 2005) because of its striking appearance both from the architectural standpoint and the display of moving lights at night. Situated right across the river from boathouse row it complements the area quite well. The Brandywine Trust company is working on plans to develop the area on the other side of the 30th street station into an office complex, one of the buildings - Cira Centre II - being quite similar in looks to the original. The area offers great potential for office and retail because it not only is in the center of transportation in Philadelphia but is also midway on the Northeast Corridor string of cities from Boston to Washington, D.C.
Building a multi-use complex like this in the center of a city is not without community commotion. The musical chairs go as follows: the post office distribution center moves to the vicinity of the airport; the IRS moves from its present location on Roosevelt Blvd. to the post office building; and the abandoned Roosevelt Blvd. the building will then most likely end up as a retail center. Retail business and office construction are at the mercy of stock market gyrations: although building costs are going down, financing is hard to obtain. Prospective tenants are relatively abundant. Brandywine hopes to obtain a single tenant to fill one 30 story mixed-use tower with a 15 story hotel next door. The attraction for both is not only the location but ready access to trains and expressway access plus subways, buses, and the downtown center on one side and the University of Pennsylvania on the other. The U. of PA is acquiring the underlying real estate ownership with a complicated system of leases to the prospective tenants. They also expect to place a number of athletic fields in the former parking area. Presumably, the recent decline in the stock market has somewhat cooled the ardor of the University endowment managers.
|New LED's at Boathouse Row|
Everyone has commented on the illumination of Cira I, which like the boathouse row, is lit by series of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) run by a single laptop computer. Cira II is contemplated to have a similar arrangement as well as a "green" roof covered with sedum and a plan for making the roof into a public park; we shall have to wait and see when the funding gets straightened out. More mundane considerations relate to drilling 35' to hit bedrock, for the pilings necessary, and to work around the Amtrak arrangements which accommodates 1000 trains a day. In the long run, however, the level achieved by the Dow Jones Industrial Average will surely have more influence on the decisions than the architects have.
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